Occipital Neuralgia is a headache that may feel like a migraine or severe piercing, throbbing or shock-like pain in the upper neck, back of the head or behind the ears.
This type of chronic pain is very difficult to diagnose because it is similar to cluster headaches or migraines. Even the origin of Occipital Neuralgia may be unknown, or caused by neck tension, inflammation, gout, spinal changes and more.
Symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia include ongoing aching, burning and throbbing. At times there may also be shocking or shooting pain starting at the base of the head and running through to the scalp on one or both sides of the head. People may also have eye pain behind the eye of the affected side of the head. Even a simple movement such as brushing your hair may trigger these symptoms.
Diagnosing Occipital Neuralgia is difficult because there is no one specific test that will determine if you have it. You may need to undergo several tests that include imaging, CAT scans and neurological exams.
There are many options for treatment, but some of the non-surgical forms that we provide include Percutaneous Nerve Blocks (this can be used to diagnose and treat), Botox Injections (to decrease inflammation).
Surgical techniques include Spinal Cord Stimulation and Occipital Nerve Stimulation. Both of these require electrodes to be placed under the skin. The pulses emitted by the electrodes disrupts how the brain discerns the pain.